News Corp to acquire IGN Entertainment for $650 million

MUMBAI: News Corporation announced today that it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire IGN Entertainment, Inc, a leading community-based Internet media and services company for video games and other forms of digital entertainment, for approximately $650 million in cash.

IGN and its network of sites will become part of News Corporation's Fox Interactive Media unit.



With the addition of IGN, Intermix and Scout Media (both the latter two deals are in the process of being closed) to the existing Fox-branded sites, News Corp's asserts that its US web traffic will increase to nearly 70 million unique monthly users and more than 12 billion page impressions per month. The combined sites will also provide a powerful cross-promotional opportunity for Fox's television and film content and enable the company to more efficiently introduce new products and services using its enhanced web presence.

The IGN transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of calendar 2005. IGN chief executive Mark Jung will continue in his role following the completion of the acquisition. Jung will report to Fox Interactive Media president Ross Levinsohn.



IGN's major video game-related properties include, GameSpy, GameSpy Arena, FilePlanet, TeamXbox, 3D Gamers, Direct2Drive, and a number of web sites within the Vault and Planet networks. IGN also owns and operates two entertainment web properties focused on movie-related content, IGN FilmForce and Rotten Tomatoes, and a male lifestyle web site, In addition, it provides technology for online game play in video games.

Said News Corporation chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch, "With the acquisition of IGN and its 28 million unique users, we have gone a long way toward achieving two of our key strategic objectives in our efforts to become a leading and profitable Internet presence. First, we have significantly enhanced our online reach, strengthening our position as the fifth most trafficked presence on the web. We also become the fourth largest network in terms of monthly page impressions. And second, we have furthered our strategy to leverage the unique competencies the company enjoys with its news, sports, and entertainment assets to create a leading Internet destination. By acquiring IGN and its compelling sites, we now have top entertainment sites to go along with, as well as our myriad news sites, headlined by"

The IGN acquisition cames at a time when Murdoch has summoned his senior most executives for the second web summit in seven months on News Corporation's Internet strategy. The group’s executive committee will meet this weekend near Murdoch’s ranch in California, media reports say. According to the reports, Murdoch said he had earmarked up to $2 billion for Internet acquisitions.

The February summit in New York marked a distinct strategy change for Murdoch, who had not shown much enthusiasm in Internet investments after the late 1990s. He said that media groups had to reinvent themselves to meet the demands of the “iPod generation”, which was bypassing traditional suppliers by consuming news and entertainment online. Murdoch's strategy was given a boost by the announcement by Prince Alwaleed, who expressed his “utmost confidence in Murdoch, his management team and his succession planning.”

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